Should We Now Call Him ‘Captain England’?
Based on this news, it would only seem appropriate that Steve Rogers be demoted to at least Lieutenant America.
First, budget constraints forced producers to move “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” production from its titular tropical location to the tax-friendlier confines of Hawaii and London. Now, the same money concerns have sent “Captain America” overseas: the movie about the most patriotic of comic-book heroes will, ironically, not be filmed in America.
The loss of production business from “Captain America: The First Avenger” is another blow to the city of Los Angeles, which has seen its share of big-budget films flee to escape the heavy tax burden its state levees on films. California offers tax credits to smaller films but, considering “Captain America’s” budget is $140 million, it didn’t qualify for a break. London offers tax credits up to 25 percent. When faced with the current economic climate, it’s hard to argue with those numbers -patriotic or not.
Sure, some of the “Captain America” adaptation is literally set in London; for those scenes, that location makes perfect sense. But it also makes perfect sense for Captain America, once he’s done fighting Nazis, to also show a little patriotism and film seems in his home country. But, as any American knows – including its Captain – money talks.
Also ironic: California’s taxes have been a boon to the British Columbian city of Vancouver, which in recent years has seen a boom of what would’ve otherwise been big Hollywood business (films such as the “Twilight Saga” have found a production home north of the border).
But there is an added sense of loss – not counting the hundreds of Hollywood jobs that will disappear – because it is, you know, Captain America. This was a character that was created a full year before Pearl Harbor was even bombed by Japan. Cover art of early Captain America books showed the hero punching Adolph Hitler in the jaw as a way of showing America’s support for its European allies.
Big budget movies being filmed overseas to avoid costs isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. George Lucas filmed all three “Star Wars” prequels in Australia to avoid union costs (Lucas has been a stong opponent to unions after a disagreement between him and the directors’ guild over the title sequence of original “Star Wars” not listing the cast). Of the six films, only “Return of the Jedi” featured live-action scenes filmed in the United States.
Considering the recent rash of films switching from locations that actually includes the location in the film’s title, it won’t be too long before it’s discovered that “Sleepless in Seattle” was actually filmed in Albuquerque.
“Captain America: The First Avenger,” starring Chris Evans as the title character, is slated for a Summer 2011 release.